To Fly on Metal Wings

Written in the ball-turret of the Tortoise BX-7.

(A full page of Ashley’s journal is taken up by an elaborate — if somewhat rushed — charcoal drawing of Kolyat-Vadra from above. His naturalist’s eye has captured the city in all of its alien beauty and fiery decline. The city’s obsidian towers loom in imposing miniature over the streets as they are slowly overtaken by the implacable onset of molten rock. The blackness climbs higher in the form of columns of black smoke; some no greater than fine tendrils, barely escaping from windows and doors among the buildings, a handful of which dwarf the towers themselves. Here and there, a spurt of more violent lava. Near the city’s center, a careful eye can spot the minute detail of several large beasts lying splayed out in a city square. On the page facing opposite, there are a few lines of text. The hand in which they have been written is broader than usual for Ashley; less controlled, restrained. A bit shaky, even. No doubt a result of the aircraft’s ascending motion.)

9 Baldral.
Abomination. Only a symptom, though. Thank “God” for that. Makes all the diff., of course.
“The Father sleeps.”
Danjil. I barely knew your people. Know. Yours, your mother’s. Think I hate them. But what good does that do?
Ziroc. Scaly bastard. I shot Sam. In the chest. Never been as mad as that before. Only partially spell-related.
Jack! Missed me. I could almost laugh.
What am I supposed to do now?
Running hasn’t gotten you anywhere yet, Prof. Galliford. Take note. It may be time for a change.
Funny thing: I don’t even feel tired.



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